When it comes to men’s fashion, the button presents a surprising challenge. While buttons are simply tools that clasp fabric together, they can have a significant impact on your overall style.

 

For formal wear, the collar button should always be hidden by your tie’s knot. You can get away with leaving the button open for comfort, since it will be hidden, but just make sure that it cannot be seen. An exposed collar button in formal wear will give a sloppy, unkempt appearance. Though you may be tempted to button every button along your jacket, you’re only supposed to do so in the case of double-breasted jackets.

 

For two-button jackets and vests, leave the lowest button undone; for three-button jackets, fasten only the middle button, and the top button if desired. It may seem counter-intuitive, or even wasteful, to leave a jacket’s buttons undone, but the practice is just a quirk of fashion with obscure origins.

 

Talking Heads' David Byrne  frequently buttons his shirts all the way to the top, which gives him a more stylish look.  (telegraph.co.uk)

Talking Heads’ David Byrne frequently buttons his shirts all the way to the top, which gives him a more stylish look. (telegraph.co.uk)

For more casual attire, there’s a lot more flexibility with buttons. For both polo shirts and button-down shirts, it’s best to take things on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, leaving the top button or two can look better and more natural for the shirt. Other times, buttoning the shirt all the way to the top can look better. This option may be slightly uncomfortable but can add a hip, stylish edge to your look.

 

 

 

Next time you’re buttoning something, don’t be so mindless. In men’s fashion, buttons are not just a tool but also a statement.

 

What do you think about button standards in men’s fashion? Let me know if the comments below, or tweet me @ryanlawlessness